CHINA, Beijing. The country produced 54.04 Mill. t of pork in 2018, down 0.9% from a year earlier, official data showed, as the world’s top consumer of the meat grapples with the spread of African swine fever, raising supply concerns.
Output fell as the size of the herd declined 3% to 428.17 Mill. head, according to the data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
China has been battling the world’s fastest spreading epidemic of African swine fever since August last year, stoking expectations of stronger demand for overseas pork supplies. The country is the world’s top pork producer, accounting for about half of global supply, with all of its production consumed domestically.
But many farmers are slaughtering their herds as swine fever cuts prices in major production areas due to restrictions on transporting pigs, leading to worries about a supply shortfall in the second-half of the year. For 2018, the number of slaughtered pigs fell by 1.2% to 693.82 Mill. head, showed the data.
The agriculture ministry said that national pig stocks in December were almost 5% lower than a year earlier, while the number of breeding sows was down by more than 8%.
The statistics bureau data also showed beef output grew by 1.5% to 6.44 Mill. t in 2018, the highest level in records going back 20 years, while lamb output rose 0.8% to 4.75 Mill. t. Poultry production rose 0.6% to 19.94 Mill. t.